Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Best Books on Missions

Here are three books on missions that will inform and inspire you.

A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger
By Steve Peifer

A Dream So Big is an incredible true story that will delight, inspire and educate all who read it. Due to overwhelming grief at the loss of their infant son, Steve and his wife, Nancy, decide to spend a year at a school in Kenya as dorm parents to the children of missionaries.

Peifer recounts delightful and humorous stories about their children, JT and Matthew, and the family’s adaptation to and experiences in Kenya. He tells similar tales about the boys they house parent. Family trips during school breaks give a marvelous picture of the stunning natural beauty of Kenya. Of course the travel is often on dirt roads and in the midst of much poverty.

Near the end of the first year Peifer visits a classroom in a government school and notices many of the children are lying on the dirt floor. He asks the teacher “Why are so many of your students lying on the floor?” The teacher replies, “This is Thursday. Most of the children haven’t eaten since Monday. If they try to stand or even sit they will faint.”

Peifer can’t get these children out of his head. After a year back in the States, he and his family return to Kenya to help in the mission school as dorm parents and teachers. They also decide to adopt two month old abandoned Kenyan twins, Katie and Ben. 

After teaching a few years Peifer becomes the school counselor guiding students as they apply to colleges. With Pfeifer’s help several of the students for the first time ever are accepted at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Dartmouth and Cornell.

In addition to his caring connections to his students Peifer reaches out to help a number of government schools. With friends and relatives raising funds in the US, Pfeifer sets up a lunch feeding program for these schools. Attendance jumps – kids come to school in order to eat. The schools with the worst attendance now have the best attendance. Later Peifer develops solar powered computer labs for these same schools – giving the children hope for their future.

This one year adventure became thirteen years of amazing experiences living in another culture and thinking outside the box to find ways to help Kenyan children escape starvation and find hope for their future. Read this book and enjoy descriptions of this beautiful country, insights into our wealth in comparison to their poverty, and be challenged to do something to make a difference.

A Certain Risk: Living Your Faith at the Edge by Paul Richardson

A Certain Risk by Paul Richardson describes the inner freedom Christ offers us all. Richardson writes in the context of his experiences as a missionary in Indonesia. He emphasizes the value of truth, the value of openness. Even though it’s dangerous to live in Indonesia as a Christian, he has always been open about his faith and his reason for being there. He believes keeping secrets affects our souls. When we do this we live a divided life. He believes it’s worth taking “a certain risk” in order to live with inner freedom. Richardson is an excellent, beautiful writer. I'll read this over again.

FINISH THE MISSION: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged 
By John Piper & David Mathis

Finish the Mission is an excellent book about the church reaching every tribe, and tongue and nation – finishing the mission. But the book offers so much more. Many Christians do not connect worship and missions. This book makes clear that worship is what it’s all about. Davis Mathis states in the introduction “The outcome of missions is all peoples delighting to praise Jesus. And the motivation for missions is the enjoyment that his people have in him.”

Louie Giglio, Michael Oh, David Platt, Michael Ramsden and Ed Stetzer write chapters in addition to those by Piper and Mathis.

Giglio in Chapter 1, using Isaiah 6:8 “Whom shall I send?” conveys the fact Isaiah is hearing a voice from our incomprehensibly great God.

David Platt in Chapter 2 gives a biblical, sobering view of hell highlighting the lostness of so many.

Michael Ramsden in Chapter 3 gives a realistic view of the dangers of mission and challenges us to be courageous.

Michael Oh in Chapter 4 teaches from the Lord’s Prayer the necessity for Christians to go “from every land and to every land.” He describes how this is currently happening in various locations around the world.

Ed Stetzer in Chapter 5 challenges all of us to send or be sent, and to be missionaries where we are. He emphasizes we are to be gospel centered and Spirit empowered.

In the final chapter John Piper teaches on Psalm 62 “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy…” He comments on Islam as not worshipping God and suggests the reason we have been given material wealth is so we will reach the nations.

Finish The Mission ends with a conversation with the authors and an appendix by Mathis on What Next? This is a challenge to the church, to all Christians to disciple others. Mathis says in the introduction “This is no ordinary missions book.” He’s right about that. I highly recommend this to all who are ready for a challenge.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15

Blessings, Dottie

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